Independence Day (1996) – Should I Watch It?
“Look, I really don’t think they flew 90 billion light years to come down here and start a fight.” He had to jinx it. He just had to jinx it…
Independence Day was released in 1996 and stars Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, and Will Smith. It is an action adventure sci-fi film about aliens that strategically place humongous spaceships above important cities all across the world with the intention to cripple Earth’s defences in one fell swoop.
Movies like this, where protagonists are fighting a hostile army, often require a governing antagonist. Examples of these are Sauron from The Lord of the Rings, Commodus from Gladiator, and The Emperor from Star Wars. Filmmakers often make these characters particularly foul so that the viewer has no trouble differentiating good from evil, and also so that the viewer has a face upon which he or she can project their personal disdain upon. One of things I like about Independence Day is not only do they not have one of these characters, they do not need one of these characters. The deeds of the aliens are so merciless and destructive, it makes their backstory irrelevant. We just want the humans to win. And this allows the story to focus on the human side of things, which results in well-rounded characters you actually care about.
And when these characters are portrayed by the likes of Smith, Pullman, and Goldblum, then you are already well on your way. Smith came fresh out of Bad Boys, in which he had not only proven that could he do action, he made it look good. Pullman looks perfect for the part of President and gives one of the best speeches in cinematic history, I must have seen that scene dozens of times and it still gives me goose bumps. It is incredible. And Goldblum basically plays Goldblum, and who does not love that?
The practical effects are pretty great. The introduction of the giant spaceships is ominous and intimidating, and the alien looks scary as hell. The special effects are pretty hit and miss though. Most of the attention has clearly gone to the bigger spaceships and the visualisation of the shields, but other effects were not this lucky. The lasers are the typical green laser beams that occasionally have impact, and the fire animation is nothing short of terrible and ignores the laws of physics.
Independence Day is very much a movie from the 90s. It has a ton of dated references, ironic scene transitions, and is filled with one-liners. But it does all that in a good way. It is not perfect, it could have done without the entire Randy Quaid storyline, and Harvey Fierstein is annoying in every scene he is in. But overall Independence Day is a solid movie, and I am hugely interested in what lies in store for us when the sequel comes out later this year.
Yes, watch it.
Hi guys, I hope you enjoyed reading this review. If you have any comments or suggestions on what I should watch next let me know in the comment section below. And don’t forget to subscribe for more spoiler free movie reviews.